Monday, November 29, 2010

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's 5 boroughs for the weekend of December 4th - 5th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, December 5, 2010
Morning Bird Walk: Twelve Birds of Winter
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Saturday morning surrounded by nature!


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
Prospect Park
No registration necessary. Meet 8 am at Grand Army Plaza entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Focus: winter species, sparrows, raptors, ducks
Trip Leader: Eddie Davis


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, December 4, 2010, 8am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers.
Meet at Van Cortland Nature Center.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary.
No limit.
Free.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, December 4, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Page Avenue Beach and Woods
We’ll begin with a look at the local geology then move to examining the flotsam and jetsam accumulated at the high tide lines to see what nature's debris has to tell us. As the water recedes with the tide we'll move into the intertidal zone to find out what sorts of living things survive in this challenging environment. A variety of crabs, snails, clams, worms and small fish are likely to be discovered. It's going to be muddy so dress appropriately.
Meet at the parking lot at the bottom of Page Avenue below Hylan Blvd.
For more information call Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.

Saturday December 4, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Winter Scavenger Greenbelt Walk
Do you want to relieve cabin fever? Join Sandra Mechanic, naturalist and photographer, for an exciting day out. We will look for three trees that still have their leaves. Can you identify them? We will look for galls on golden rod and oak plants, rolled leaves and signs of insects. How many squirrels’ nests can we find? Let’s connect with nature and find a lot of special items like hickory nuts, twigs, abandoned bird nests, male deer rubbing his antlers on the base of a tree, insects leaving trails on overturned branches or logs. Dress warm and let’s have fun.
Meet at the end of Nevada Avenue in the parking lot.
For more information call Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967 1037.

Sunday, December 5, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Great Kills Park
Join Howie Fischer as he helps birders identify wintering waterfowl in the waters of Great Kills Park. This is the time of year for the arrival of wintering waterfowl such as Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Greater Scaup. Both the Red-throated and Common Loons as well as Horned Grebes are also possible. If our luck is good, we may find Snow Buntings or Lapland Longspur among the flocks of Horned Larks. We will search the tidal flats, beaches and the Nature Center for a variety of birds in the park. The recent burn may be excellent habitat for raptors. Bring a pair of binoculars and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
Meet in the parking lot as you first enter the park at Buffalo Street and Hylan Blvd.
For more information call Howie Fischer at 718-981-4002.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: Bird Feeders
8:00 a.m.
The best way to help birds out during the harsh winter months -- no stopping once...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Early Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Healthy Hike
10:00 a.m.
Let your feet do the walking while the Rangers do the talking on this fast-paced outing. If...
Location: Cunningham Park - Union Turnpike Parking Lot (in Cunningham Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Winter Tree ID
11:00 a.m.
How do you identify a tree when there are no leaves, flowers, or fruit? Let us teach you...
Location: Martling Pond (in Clove Lakes Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Native American Ethnobotany
12:00 p.m.
The forest of Inwood Hill Park provided the Lenape tribe with many natural resources vital...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Slippery Seals and Wintry Waterfowl
11:00 a.m.
These marine mammals have been known to show up in the area during their migratory journey....
Location: Conference House Beach at Joline Avenue (in Conference House Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Nocturnal Hike
6:00 p.m.
Join us as we explore the wonderful world of wildlife after-hours. Bats, raccoons, and...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Friday, November 26, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 25, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 25, 2010
* NYNY1011.25

- Birds mentioned

COMMON GROUND-DOVE+ (not seen since Sun., 21-Nov)
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER+
CAVE SWALLOW+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Snow Goose
Cackling Goose
KING EIDER
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Northern Goshawk
Hudsonian Godwit
LITTLE GULL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Bonaparte's Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Razorbill
WESTERN KINGBIRD
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Orange-crowned Warbler
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Red Crossbill
Common Redpoll

EXTRALIMITAL - Stamford, Connecticut:
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Thursday, November 25th 2010 at 10pm. The highlights of today's tape are COMMON GROUND-DOVE update, FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER in Connecticut, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, CAVE SWALLOW, LITTLE GULL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, WESTERN KINGBIRD, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, NORTHERN SHRIKE and much more.

The COMMON GROUND-DOVE, New York's first, pending NYSARC approval, and present at Captree State Park since October 31st, has to our knowledge not been seen there since last Sunday and may have departed. If still looking for it concentrate around the short grass areas up to the south parking lot and along the north edge of the south parking lot.

However the FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER in Stamford, Connecticut was still present today. Directions to Cove Island Park are as follows: coming from New York from the New England thruway, Route 95, take exit 9 and turn right or south onto Seaside Avenue, continue to the light at the end and turn left onto Cove Road, the entrance to Cove Island Park is straight ahead, once in the park turn right and go past the skating rink and park in the southwest corner of the lot, the entrance to the sanctuary is on the left side of the brick building and the flycatcher has spent much of its time around the shrubs and small trees on the western side of the open area.

A nice influx of CAVE SWALLOWS took place due to the strong winds on Wednesday. Fourteen were counted moving along the Coney Island boardwalk and another 5 were noted at Breezy Point with 1 also appearing at Jones Beach West End. Then today at West End an apparently not terribly healthy CAVE SWALLOW, sitting near the roadway between brief flights, was finally killed by a vehicle and 3 other CAVE SWALLOWS were seen together moving west.

Also at Jones Beach West End the NORTHERN SHRIKE continues its stay around the Roosevelt Nature Center where over the weekend and today it spent some time hunting from the boardwalk railings. A large number of BONAPARTE'S GULLS has been present recently around Jones Beach West End ranging from the inlet off the Coast Guard Station around to the ocean beaches. Last Sunday a sub-adult LITTLE GULL was spotted in a flock off the west side of the inlet while on Tuesday an immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was reported on the bar off the Coast Guard Station. Then today an adult LITTLE GULL was seen in the cove by the Coast Guard Station and an immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was noted briefly farther out in the channel.

If the above doesn't entice you to the West End also today an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was seen briefly and photographed in the median across from the easternmost West End parking lot 2 exit. Five RED CROSSBILLS flew by, 2 or 3 COMMON REDPOLLS appeared in the median and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR was in a large flock of SNOW BUNTINGS feeding around the West End 2 parking lot. Last Sunday 7 LAPLAND LONGSPURS were around the Roosevelt Nature Center. On Tuesday at West End an injured HUDSONIAN GODWIT was seen near the Jones Beach jetty and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was found on the walkout to the jetty, 2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS were on the Point Lookout side of Jones Inlet Tuesday and good numbers of COMMON EIDER are around there.

Another ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Massapequa Preserve Tuesday around the south end of the pond in from Pittsburgh Avenue.

Out in East Hampton the goose flock along Further Lane last Sunday contained 5 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and single CACKLING GOOSE & SNOW GOOSE. On Tuesday 4 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and the CACKLING GOOSE were still there.

At Montauk Sunday a WESTERN KINGBIRD was a Rita's Horse Farm, where permission should be sought by birders wanting to bird there. At Montauk Point Sunday a good amount of offshore activity produced 2 drake KING EIDERS, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES and 21 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and another RED-NECKED GREBE was off Culloden Point.

At Shinnecock a RAZORBILL was spotted in the inlet last Friday and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported near the Ponquogue Bridge Sunday with an AMERICAN BITTERN along Dune Road west of the bridge.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Happy Thanksgiving.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

This is my second Wood Duck "Friday's Foto". The first was back on February 12th. All I can say is, how can I NOT post another photo of this beautiful bird? The bird in the background is a female Wood Duck.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brooklyn Weekend Birds

While I didn't find any new year birds over the weekend, there was still some interesting observations to report.

The weather has remained unseasonably mild this month, extending the season for some insects. As I walked around Green-Wood Cemetery, I was surprised by the number of crickets that were still singing. In addition, Green Darner dragonflies are still relatively abundant and patrol territories around many of the open, grassy areas. Around the edges of the Crescent Water pond I spotted lots of Yellow-legged Meadowhawks. The bright, crimson dragonflies nearly become invisible when perched among the autumn red foliage of a small weeping cherry tree.

The leaves on the Sweetgum trees have turned a shade of flame orange that seems to illuminate the surrounding landscape. The tree's fruits have begun ripening, sprinkling tiny, white seeds into the leaf litter below. It sounds and looks like a light dusting of snow. The side of these spikey balls that face the sun have turned brick red, while the shaded side remains green. Hundreds of hungry chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, siskins are now targeting these trees for the short lived windfall. White-throated Sparrows, Fox Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos scratch the ground beneath the trees.

I was surprised to see blossoms on some of the cemetery's hundreds of azalea shrubs. The mild weather has coaxed fresh blooms on these, nearly century old shrubs. A few of the roses have also begun flowering, but I suspect that these might just be autumn blooming species. I also spotted new buds on some magnolia trees.











There were a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches making alarms calls on the hillside above the Valley Water pond. These tiny birds aren't really capable of scaring anything other than, maybe, a mosquito, but it doesn't stop them from trying. A Red-tailed Hawk perched in a beech tree was the object of their ire. It was a juvenile hawk and she was dining on a freshly killed squirrel. I wondered if she was the survivor from Junior and Big Mama's recent family. It's difficult to be absolutely certain. She seemed unfazed by my presence, so is likely one of our city raptors and not a passing migrant.

I watched the hawk for a few minutes then continued walking up the hill. Several yards from the tree, I flushed a woodcock, who was certainly very happy that the hawk had caught a squirrel and not him. Later in the morning, while walking with Joe B. near the Crescent Water, I spotted another woodcock in the leaf litter below Samuel Morse's monument. A third was seen flying over the rock pile, while a Cooper's Hawk soared just behind him. This woodcock was also lucky because, judging by the raptor's bulging crop, he wasn't hungry and continued flying in the opposite direction from the timberdoodle.

On the ridge above the Sylvan Water I found an old owl roost. I say "old" because there wasn't any signs of whitewash or pellets, just some squirrel remains. They were probably within the regurgitated pellets, along with some fur, but the elements have washed away all but the largest parts of the skeleton. I spotted them at the base of a large pine tree, which would be a reasonable place for an owl roost. Later that day, as the sun was beginning to set, Marge and I spotted the silhouettes of our resident Great Horned Owls. They were perched side by side at a new roost. Perhaps they are starting to scout for a new nest location. I'd like to think so, anyway. Trying to think like owls, Marge and I scanned the surrounding trees for potential sites. A nearby Tuliptree looked promising. In another month we should know for certain if they will try again.
...Read more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's 5 boroughs for the weekend of November 27th - 28th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November 27, 2010, 8am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortland Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, November 28, 2010, 9:30am – 11:30am
Nature in the Garden Discovery Walk
Explore Wave Hill’s woodlands and gardens and discover the world of insects, flowers, trees, birds and their fascinating habitats on this naturalist-led walk, offered jointly by Wave Hill and NYC Audubon. Ideal for ages 5 and up and their curious adult companions. Rain or shine, so dress for the weather! Space is limited; advanced registration recommended, online, at the Perkins Visitor Center when you next visit or by calling 718.549.3200 x305.
Fee: Free for Wave Hill Members/Non-members $5. Free for NYC Audubon Members with 2-for-1 admission to the grounds.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, November 28, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Bloomingdale Woods
Join Sandra Mechanic, naturalist and photographer, for an exciting walk in Bloomingdale Woods. It has been a long time since I have done this walk and I hope to see many new faces come out to explore. This is a great haven to see deer foraging on plants. This rich woodland is a special, hidden gem. We will see the rare fragrant Bush Honeysuckle, “Standishii” along the Drumgoole Road West side. We will walk along Staten Island’s only true meandering stream and find some beautiful plants. Meet at the intersection of Maguire Avenue and Drumgoole Road West.
For more information call Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967 1037.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Early Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Post-Turkey Day Super Hike
11:00 a.m.
Work off those extra helpings of stuffing and potatoes on this long hike.
Location: Tortoise and Hare Statue (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

New York City's Wildlife
11:00 a.m.
New York City might be known for its wild nightlife, but that would be news to the wildlife...
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Post-Thanksgiving Hike
11:00 a.m.
Take an extended hike on some of the park’s longest trails to “burn off”...
Location: Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Life in the Leaf Litter
11:00 a.m.
Rotting leaves and logs are more than they appear to be—they are microhabitats...
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Tracking Wildlife
12:00 p.m.
Animals leave distinctive tracks and other traces as they travel through our parks. Learn...
Location: W 158th Street and Edgecombe Avenue (in Highbridge Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Waterfowl
12:00 p.m.
Explore the salt marsh at Orchard Beach as we search for ducks and other waterfowl of the...
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Making Tracks
1:00 p.m.
Learn how to locate and identify animal tracks found in and around woodland areas, then...
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Discover Tour: Winter Survival
3:00 p.m.
Come exploring with us on a nature hike that will focus on the winter adaptations used by...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 19, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 19, 2010
* NYNY1011.19

- Birds mentioned

COMMON GROUND-DOVE+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
Redhead
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Cattle Egret
Rough-legged Hawk
American Golden-Plover
Marbled Godwit
Iceland Gull
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
Royal Tern
Long-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
WESTERN KINGBIRD
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
Horned Lark
American Pipit
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
ORCHARD ORIOLE
RED CROSSBILL
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin

EXTRALIMITAL - Stamford, Connecticut:

FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 19th 2010 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are COMMON GROUND-DOVE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, WESTERN KINGBIRD, NORTHERN SHRIKE, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, RED CROSSBILL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, ORCHARD ORIOLE and an extralimital FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER.

First, the only very slightly extralimital i.e. not in New York, FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, which was found Wednesday in Stamford Connecticut and was still present there today. To reach this site from New York, from the New England thruway, Route 95, take exit 9 and turn right or south onto Seaside Avenue, continue to the light at the end of the road and turn left onto Cove Road, the entrance to Cove Island Park is ahead, once into the park turn right and go past the skating rink and park in the southwest corner of the lot, the entrance to the sanctuary is on the left side of the brick building and the flycatcher has spent much of its time around the shrubs and small trees on the western side of the open area.

The COMMON GROUND-DOVE was still at Captree State Park this morning. Look for the dove especially on the short grass areas near the entrance booth or along the roadway to the south parking lot, this the first road to the right at the traffic circle. Also check along the north edge of the south parking lot though the Ground-Dove does sometimes move off into the dunes but does tend to return to the grass. The WESTERN KINGBIRD at the same site, at least through Monday, appears in the dunes around the south parking lot but seems to disappear after mid-morning.

At Jones Beach West End the NORTHERN SHRIKE was still being seen around the Roosevelt Nature Center as of today but has been rather elusive. A MARBLED GODWIT continues to appears either on the bar by the Coast Guard Station or across the inlet always with American Oystercatchers and LONG-EARED OWL and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL have occurred at the West End recently. Last Saturday in the median at the West End the birders following up on a sighting of 2 RED CROSSBILLS found an immature male WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL and single RED CROSSBILLS were noted there Tuesday and today with 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS there Monday and today. An ICELAND GULL was also spotted at West End last Saturday and a couple of ROYAL TERNS continue to visit the Coast Guard bar. Among the waterfowl off the Coast Guard Station Sunday were 3 HARLEQUIN DUCKS.

Presently coastally in good numbers have been HORNED LARK, SNOW BUNTING and PINE SISKIN with scattered AMERICAN PIPITS.

A morning watch today at Robert Moses State Park from the hawk platform on Fire Island appeared 3 RED CROSSBILLS, 270 PINE SISKINS and 20 AMERICAN PIPITS.

Very unexpected last Saturday was an ORCHARD ORIOLE found at Zach's Bay north of field 6 at Jones Beach the oriole also there on Sunday.

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was still roosting at high tide in the Point Lookout Town Park parking lot as of Saturday and an immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was feeding with a large flock of Bonaparte's Gulls off Cedar Beach overlook on Monday.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a RED-NECKED GREBE was present in the bay south of the West Pond Sunday and 5 REDHEADS were on the pond.

Four CATTLE EGRETS were still at Floyd Bennett Field Sunday.

Up in Bayville a drake EURASIAN WIGEON was spotted Monday at the Bailey Arboretum off Bayville Road with another on Oyster Bay Mill Pond today. Two EURASIAN WIGEONS were seen at the south end of Patchogue Lake in Patchogue on Sunday.

Out in East Hampton the field on the north side of Further Lane that geese find so attractive did contain 5 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE last Sunday a couple of these presumably the same 2 seen flying out of Hook Pond a little earlier. A CACKLING GOOSE was out on Shorts Pond off Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton and 3 CATTLE EGRET were still at the Mecox Dairy along Mecox Road Sunday with 2 more in Manorville.

At Shinnecock Inlet an immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE joined a feeding flock of Bonaparte's Gulls Sunday and 200 COMMON EIDER were scattered around the inlet.

Another ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was spotted at Smith Point County Park in Shirley last Saturday. The same day a COMMON RAVEN was again observed at the Rocky Point Preserve.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Foto

As the weather turns colder, a greater diversity and abundance of waterfowl can be found around New York City's coastal waters, lakes and ponds. I spotted this male Bufflehead resting on a log floating in Brooklyn's Prospect Lake.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn Colors

Here's a slideshow of some recent photos from around Brooklyn.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's 5 boroughs for the weekend of November 20th - 21st, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, November 21st, 2010
Rockaway Peninsula expedition
Trip Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: water birds and ducks (peak), dune/beach, late sparrow, early winter species, possible rarity
Car Fee: $12.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email Prosbird [AT] aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: Nov 9th - Nov 18th


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November, 20, 2010, 8am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortland Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary.
No limit.
Free.

Saturday, November, 20, 2010, 10am – 1pm
Winter Waterfowl Workshop
With Gateway National Recreation Area. Guide: Don Riepe. Meet at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for a slide ID program and walk to look for wintering waterfowl. Learn about their behavior and biology, and how to identify them in the field.
To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-318-9344 or driepe [AT] nyc.rr.com.
Limited to 25.
Free.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 20, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Clove Lakes Park
Meet by the Maintenance Building at the intersection of Slosson Avenue and Drake Avenue. We will spend two hours removing alien invasive plants from areas chosen by the Natural Resources Group. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After the work session (our 173rd consecutive monthly workshop), we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
For more information call Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393.

Sunday, November 21, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Reed’s Basket Willow
Discover this hidden natural park in Dongan Hills. We’ll visit the three bodies of water in the park and stroll through the woodlands. Although none of Reed’s basket willow still grow near the swamp from which the park gets its name, the woodlands and stream is still home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Meet at the Spring Street entrance in Dongan Hills.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, November 21, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Full Moon Owl Prowl at Mount Loretto
Join Cliff Hagen and walk the fields of Mount Loretto as the sun falls below the horizon, chased by the rising of the full moon. Local and migrating owls utilize the grasslands for food and shelter so we may see various owls silhouetted by the night sky. Meet in the parking lot along Hylan Blvd. across from the CYO Center.
For more information call Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.


Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, November 21, 2010, 8am – 2pm
Pelham Bay Park
Leader: Eric Miller (917-631-7530)
("Birding Site Maps" page)


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Fun with Fungus
11:00 a.m.
Learn the basics of mycology as we search for mushrooms around the park and have some fun...
Location: Wild West Playground (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Orienteering
11:00 a.m.
Learn navigation with a map and compass. You’ll never get lost in the woods!...
Location: Cunningham Park Parking Lot (in Cunningham Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Post-Thanksgiving Hike
11:00 a.m.
Take an extended hike on some of the park’s longest trails to “burn off”...
Location: Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 12, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov 12, 2010
* NYNY1011.12

- Birds Mentioned:

COMMON GROUND-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
Eurasian Wigeon
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Northern Gannet
Cattle Egret
Northern Goshawk
Marbled Godwit
Purple Sandpiper
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Royal Tern
Parasitic Jaeger
Northern Saw-whet Owl
WESTERN KINGBIRD
NORTHERN SHRIKE
BOREAL CHICKADEE
Eastern Bluebird
Orange-crowned Warbler
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch


If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc1 AT nybirds.org .

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

~ Transcript ~

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert Weekly Recording: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483
Tony Lauro (631) 734-4126

Compilers: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
Transcriber: Karen Fung

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 12th, at 9:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are COMMON GROUND-DOVE, BOREAL CHICKADEE, WESTERN KINGBIRD, BLACK-HEADED GULL, NORTHERN SHRIKE, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, LARK SPARROW, and more.

The COMMON GROUND-DOVE, found at Captree State Park on October 31st, continued through last weekend to the relief of many regional birders and was still present there today. The ground-dove has frequented many of the short-grassed areas around the park, but also does retreat into brush areas in the dunes north of the south parking lot. Recent favored areas have included the grass just before and around the entrance booth to the park, and along the roadway to the south parking lot. Also look along the north edge of the south parking lot. Patience can be required.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD in the same general area last weekend was seen early Saturday and Sunday in the dunes just east of the road to the south parking lot, but was apparently quite elusive thereafter, but was also noted in the same area today. Another WESTERN KINGBIRD was spotted flying by the Fire Island Hawk Watch Sunday morning. Impressive weekend land bird flights as observed from the Moses hawk platform were much heavier and more sustained than those at Jones Beach West End, providing a clue as to the migration dynamic along the outer beach. These featured hundreds of PINE SISKINS and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH both days, and today's flight produced over 750 siskins at Moses.

On Saturday a VESPER SPARROW was found on the northeast side of the Cedar Beach overlook parking lot, and farther west along Ocean Parkway a LARK SPARROW provided great views for many birders at Zach's Bay in the Jones Beach State Park. The LARK SPARROW, first in the picnic area on the north side of Ocean Parkway, by Sunday had relocated to the south side of the road, frequenting the grassy area on the north edge of the employees' parking lot that is adjacent to the western end of parking field 6. It has continued at this site through today.

Other Jones Beach West End highlights were numerous. A NORTHERN SHRIKE around the Roosevelt Nature Center has been wandering a little farther afield from its favored area east of the boardwalk, including into the dunes about midway to the West End 2 parking lot, but it was still in the area through Wednesday.

A MARBLED GODWIT and one or two ROYAL TERNS continue to use the bar off the West End Coast Guard Station, and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL is starting to show up in that area.

An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen in the field 6 parking lot on Saturday, and a late Saturday afternoon ocean watch off field 6 produced eight jaeger sightings, all identified as PARASITIC JAEGER for the closer birds, which included one dark morph, with the more distant birds also appearing to be PARASITIC. Also noted were an immature ICELAND GULL coming in off the ocean, and four ROYAL TERNS. The hundreds of NORTHERN GANNETS feeding off field 6 and farther east Sunday morning were quite impressive.

Today at West End, two immature HARLEQUIN DUCKS appeared in the marina off the Coast Guard Station, and an immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen.

Certainly a surprise in Brooklyn was the brief appearance of a BOREAL CHICKADEE in Coney Island on Tuesday, seen and heard in the morning around 36th Street and Surf Avenue. The chickadee quickly disappeared and has not been relocated, but it is reflective of a movement up north of other Boreal Chickadees outside their normal range, generally moving with flocks of Black-capped Chickadees. Also in New York City, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was found in Prospect Park, Brooklyn today, with 13 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS also in Green-Wood Cemetery. An ICELAND GULL was reported over Riverside Park on Tuesday.

Moving east on Long Island, a CACKLING GOOSE was spotted with Canadas at Sunken Meadow State Park on Sunday, while a male WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL visiting a feeder Wednesday in Laurel on the North Fork was certainly surprising. A EURASIAN WIGEON was on Patchogue Lake, north of Lake Street, on Saturday. A BLACK-HEADED GULL continued to visit the flats at Mecox through last weekend, with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL also there Saturday, this one of five on the South Fork that day. 200 COMMON EIDER and five PURPLE SANDPIPERS were around Shinnecock Inlet Tuesday.

Some CATTLE EGRETS out east featured five still at the Mecox Dairy Farm off Mecox Road Saturday, two along Indian Neck Road in Peconic on the North Fork recently, and two along Sunrise Highway east of Exit 61 on Wednesday, while today four were also seen at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483. This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bluebird Days

I went into Green-Wood Cemetery late in the day. Great Horned Owls begin courtship in the winter, so Marge and I are keeping tabs on our resident pair. We were planning on staying late to find out if they'd begun calling yet. However, sometimes nature has a habit of presenting alternate plans, whether we like it or not.

I got to the cemetery earlier than Marge and had time to wander around a bit. Near "Boss" Tweed's family plot I stumbled on a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. They were alternately perching on headstones and street signs, then diving down into the grass to catch insects. A short distance away, near the "Rock Pile", is a stretch of sweetgum trees. American Goldfinches were landing at the tops of the sweetgums and prying the tiny seeds from the tree's spiky fruit. My first American Tree Sparrow of the season was nibbling on the tops of some type of dried wildflower below the trees. Several Pine Siskins revealed themselves within the goldfinch flocks with their raspy "zreeeeeeet" calls .

I met Marge near the Valentine Angel and we walked the Flatlands of the cemetery. It was getting late and the bright, winter sun was casting long shadows across the grass fields. As we walked down Cypress Avenue, towards her car, I heard a bluebird call. Then I heard another. On the south side of the road I spotted a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. Another one flew across the road in front of us. Then another. Then three more. After a quick scan, we realized that there were more than just a few bluebirds and, in fact, there was a whole flock of them. I positioned myself behind a tall, granite headstone, using it as a blind, so I could get close to the birds. Some were perched on top of carved, stone obelisks; some in azalea shrubs; a few in a dogwood tree; one was even perched a foot above the ground atop a small American flag that had been placed at a gravesite. Most of the birds were making occasional, soft whistles as they fed within the grass or in shrubs . At one point they all seemed to lift up in unison and fly back across the road. They attacked a large yew shrub, snatching the plant's juicy, red fruit. I counted thirteen individuals in the flock. Marge and I were right in the middle as they continued moving back and forth across the road, alternating between foraging in the grass and filling up on yew berries. Then, as quickly as it began, it ended. A few birds called loudly and they flew up into the bare branches of a tall maple tree at the intersection of Cypress Avenue and Grape Avenue. They sat in the tree for a moment, then took off, flying deeper into the cemetery.

Here's a short video of some of the flock:

video
...Read more

Friday's Foto

The Pine Siskin is a close relative to the American Goldfinch. Normally found in the northern mountains of New York State, individuals are rarely found within goldfinch flocks in NYC during the winter. This bird was one of a pair I found feeding in a pine tree along the boardwalk in Coney Island.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Birding the Barrier Beaches

On Sunday Heydi and I took a road trip to the south shore of Long Island to look for some rare birds. The barrier beaches of Jones Beach have been home to some unusual vagrants over the last week and we decided to try and track some of them down.

The list of unusual species (in taxonomic order) are:

Marbled Godwit
Common Ground-Dove
Western Kingbird
Northern Shrike
Lark Sparrow

In order or rarity, the Common Ground-Dove has the others beat, hands down, as it has never been recorded in New York State. This tiny tropical dove is found in Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean, and South America. It is also a resident in the southern-most United States. How or why it ended up on Long Island is anybody's guess and it was the main reason that Heydi and I were actually leaving the confines of New York City to chase a bird.
Newspapers have even picked up on the story. The Northern Shrike would be nearly on the opposite end of the thermometer as these "butcher birds" are normally found in northern New York's Adirondack Mountains. They are referred to as "butcher birds" because of their habit of caching their prey on thorns, barbed wire or any other available sharp objects. They rarely travel this far south, but it isn't unprecedented. The Western Kingbird, as it's common name suggests, breed mainly along the west half of the United States, wintering in Central America. The final two species aren't quite as rare, but still not seen very often in New York. The Lark Sparrow is a rare, but regular fall vagrant. The godwit is considered a rare fall migrant.

Our plan was to try and find the ground-dove first, then backtrack, heading west along the Jones Beach barrier island for the other species. The Common Ground-Dove was found at Captree State Park, which is at the eastern-most end of Jones Beach. The kingbird was also found at Captree. Zach's Bay was the location of the Lark Sparrow, the shrike was found at Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center by my friend Steve and, finally, the godwit was just down the road from the shrike at the coast guard station.

Captree State Park is about 37 miles (as the crow flies) from where I live in Brooklyn. I've been trying to use low or zero carbon methods of birding, so on the drive out I began wondering if it was possible to bicycle to see the birds (strong legs and endurance aside). In college, I lived in Nassau county and used to pedal down to Jones Beach via the bike lane adjacent to Wantagh Parkway. Unfortunately, once at the beach, there aren't any bicycle lanes that travel the length of the island and bikes are prohibited from the roadway. Seems sort of shortsighted by Robert Moses and the park planners. I guess that means no "birking" the barrier beaches for me, I'll always have to go by car.

When we arrived at the first parking lot at Captree, there were already a few birders milling about or scanning a narrow strip of grass at the edge of the lot. We asked if anyone had seen the dove yet, and they responded that there hadn't been any reports that morning. Bobby Berlingeri, who was with the group, decided that they should check the south parking lot. Heydi and I would remain, in case the bird appeared there. It seemed like they had only been gone for a few minutes when Bobby returned to let us know that he had found the bird at the "Overlook" lot. Unfortunately, once we got there, the bird had vanished. Several people were walking up and down the short grass medians, the bird's favored foraging habitat. I grumbled to Heydi and Bobby that the bird was unlikely to return with all the people walking in the grass. I think Bobby said something to them because they began to return to their cars. I've learned that patience is key when it comes to finding vagrant birds, so told Bobby that we were probably just going to sit down on a nearby park bench and wait. Turned out that the interlude was unnecessary because only a few minutes passed before the bird flew out of the dunes and onto the sidewalk. I was stunned by its diminutive size. I mean, I read that it was the smallest dove in North America, but wasn't really prepared at just how small. Let me try to put it in perspective. The two most common "doves" in New York are the Rock Pigeon and the Mourning Dove. On average, our city pigeons are about 12.5" long with a 28" wingspan. They weigh about 9 ounces. The Mourning Dove is 12" long with a 18" wingspan and weigh around 4.2 ounces. The Common Ground-Dove is nearly half the size of the Mourning Dove at 6.5" long, 10.5" wingspan and only weigh 1.1 ounce. That is only slightly larger than a House Sparrow. We can't ever be 100% certain where the dove originated, but let's say it took off flying from Bermuda. I don't think a House Sparrow could make that journey, although, knowing our city sparrow's resourcefulness, they would probably have just taken a bus up the coast. When the dove flew to the north side of the road we began walking east along the opposite side of the road to look for the Western Kingbird. I was on a tight schedule, so when the kingbird wasn't where it was last seen, we decided to leave and head towards the other locations.

Our next stop was at Zach's Bay, which is a beach on the bay side of the barrier beach. A Lark Sparrow had been found feeding within a mixed flock of sparrows at a grassy field adjacent to the water. Last year I found one at Floyd Bennett Field, I haven't been as lucky this fall, so, hopefully, the Zach's Bay bird would still be around.

As we walked up to field along the bay I noticed a birdwatcher we had seen earlier at Captree with his unleashed dog. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, but they are seen as predators by birds, so if looking for a rare bird, leave the dog at home as they will only scare the birds (not to mention that they are prohibited at Jones Beach). Heydi and I walked to the eastern edge of the field where there were a couple of dozen nervous sparrows feeding in the grass. The dog owner had tied up his dog to a picnic bench and walked over to where we were scanning the flocks. The dog freaked out and began barking non-stop, making the already skittish birds even more jumpy. The guy eventually packed up his dog and left. We continued scanning for the Lark Sparrow. Next, a group of about 10 birders arrived, spread out the width of the field and begin marching towards us in a line, like the Redcoats ready for battle. The birds scattered. We hadn't found the bird and with the added crowd of people, decided that we probably wouldn't. As we were walking back through a tunnel that goes under the roadway, I said to her, "I bet the sparrow spooked and flew across the road." Once on the other side of the road, I spotted my friend Rob Bate scoping a small patch of grass next to the parking lot. He was looking at the Lark Sparrow. I ran back to the field to alert the others. After a quick look, we hopped back into the car and headed to the nature center in search of the Northern Shrike.

The habitat surrounding the nature center looks a bit like the arctic tundra. It is mostly patches of low, grassy hummocks interspersed with small shrubs. There is a boardwalk trail behind the nature center's building that loops around a stand of small conifers and bayberry shrubs. A few distant, dead snags look like perfect perches for a hungry shrike to scan for prey. At the southern edge of the habitat a gentle dune rises, running parallel to and muting the sound of the crashing surf. While we looked for the shrike two or three Northern Harriers cruised passed, soaring low above the dunes like surfers on the ocean. A Peregrine Falcon rocket down the beach and disappeared behind the dunes. I wondered if this fastest-animal-on-the-planet successfully snared a Sanderling or Snow Bunting that had been feeding along the ocean's edge. We spent about 30 minutes looking, unsuccessfully, for the bird. Tom, Gail and several other birders arrived and we joined them for the search. No luck. At this point we were running out of time. I had a late afternoon commitment in the city, so had to pack it in before even looking for the godwit at the coast guard station. Still, I can't complain as we added a couple of new birds to our year list, one of which was a life bird for both of us. Here is a photo of the Northern Shrike taken by Steve when he found it during a previous weekend's Brooklyn Bird Club trip.

...Read more

Monday, November 08, 2010

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, nature trips within New York City's 5 boroughs for the weekend of November 13th - 14th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, November 14th, 2010
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Trip Leader: Rafael Campos
Focus: water birds and ducks (peak), marsh species, early winter species, possible rarity
Car Fee: $12.00
Registrar: James Cooke email james [AT] jamescooke.net; home # 516-739-0647. Call before 9 pm
Registration period: Nov 2nd - Nov 11th


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortland Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sun, November 14, 2010, 9:30am – 11:30am
Wave Hill: Perkins Visitor Center
Explore Wave Hill’s woodlands and gardens and discover the world of insects, flowers, trees, birds and their fascinating habitats on this naturalist-led walk, offered jointly by Wave Hill and NYC Audubon. Ideal for ages 5 and up and their curious adult companions. Rain or shine, so dress for the weather! Space is limited; advanced registration recommended, online, at the Perkins Visitor Center when you next visit or by calling 718.549.3200 x305. Fee: Free for Wave Hill Members/Non-members $5. Free for NYC Audubon Members with 2-for-1 admission to the grounds.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Long Pond Park
Evidence of animal life as well the geologic history and human influence will be observed as we take an unhurried stroll on a one and a half mile hike through the park. Meet at PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about 3 blocks NW of Hylan Blvd.
For more information call Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.

Sunday, November 14, 2010, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Save Arden Heights Woods
Meet at the corner of Woodrow Road and Arden Avenue. We will walk to the trail entrance.
For more information call Hillel Lofaso at 718-751-6629


Queens County Bird Club
Sat, November 13, 2010, 8am – 2pm
Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn
Leader: Eric Miller


Staten Island Museum
November 14, 2010, 9:00am - 11:00am
Changing Seasons at Great Kills Park
Observe the changes at Great Kills park as fall heads towards winter. Meet at the parking area for the blue-dot trail at the corner of Hylan Blvd. and Buffalo St. Enjoy the beauty & ecology of Staten Island. Wear comfortable shoes and bring binoculars.
To register and confirm meeting places call Seth Wollney at (718) 483-7105.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Early Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Migration Bingo
10:00 a.m.
Add species to your year and life lists while also working to mark off a row of migrants on…
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Urban Sustainability Series: Green Roofing
1:00 p.m.
It’s all about the soil! Green roofs have great benefits in the urban jungle;…
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Star Gazing
5:00 p.m.
Observe heavenly bodies with the Amateur Astronomy Association of New York. Weather permitting.
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Foliage Hike
11:00 a.m.
Why travel upstate when you have colorful views of fall foliage right in your own backyard?…
Location: Margaret Corbin Circle (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Fall Foliage at Kissena Park
12:00 p.m.
The color change in leaves heralds autumn's return. Experience the diverse color palette in…
Location: Rose and Oak Avenues (in Kissena Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Life in the Leaf Litter
1:00 p.m.
Rotting leaves and logs are more than they appear to be—they are microhabitats…
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park Preserve), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Blind Nature Walk
1:00 p.m.
Sense the natural world as you never have before.
Location: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, November 06, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the NEw ork City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 5, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov 05, 2010
* NYNY1011.05

- Birds Mentioned:

WHITE-WINGED DOVE+
COMMON GROUND-DOVE+
CAVE SWALLOW+
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Harlequin Duck
Northern Gannet
Cattle Egret
American Golden-Plover
Red Knot
Laughing Gull
LITTLE GULL
Bonaparte's Gull
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Parasitic Jaeger
Short-eared Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
WESTERN KINGBIRD
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Vesper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Lapland Longspur
DICKCISSEL
Rusty Blackbird
RED CROSSBILL

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc1 AT nybirds.org .

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

~ Transcript ~

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Weekly Recording: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483
Tony Lauro (631) 734-4126

Compilers: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
Transcriber: Karen Fung

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 5th, at 9:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are COMMON GROUND-DOVE, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, CAVE SWALLOW, LITTLE GULL, WESTERN KINGBIRD, NORTHERN SHRIKE, RED CROSSBILLS and DICKCISSEL, plus much more.

Last Sunday a COMMON GROUND-DOVE, New York's first pending NYSARC approval, was found at Captree State Park, located at the eastern terminus of Ocean Parkway, and the western terminus of which is Jones Beach West End. Initially the ground -dove frequented the northern edge of the eastern parking lot at Captree, but has relocated, perhaps due to the illegally maintained feral cat colony, denizens of which caused the ground-dove to panic several times. Recently the ground-dove has become more elusive, frequenting the grassy areas or sheltering in adjacent bushes near the boat launch ramp area off the western parking lot at Captree, or along the parkway near the parking lot exit. It has also been seen along the road to the south parking lot. A DICKCISSEL has also been in the area around the boat launch parking lot, and a WESTERN KINGBIRD, first seen on Monday at the original ground-dove location, has since been seen in the swale south of the traffic circle near the park entrance, or up closer to Ocean Parkway. Today the ground-dove was seen at several sites including the road to the south parking lot, where the WESTERN KINGBIRD was also noted. Please be patient in your search for the ground-dove so as not to stress it.

Also on Sunday a WHITE-WINGED DOVE was reported flying east past the hawk watch site, east of field 5 at Robert Moses State Park, and among the migrants noted from the hawk platform last Saturday were four CAVE SWALLOWS, a SHORT-EARED OWL, and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

At the west end of Ocean Parkway last Saturday a NORTHERN SHRIKE was found at the Roosevelt Nature Center at Jones Beach West End. The shrike, still present at least to Thursday, favors the dunes east of the boardwalk, moving around a bit but often prominently perching there.

On Saturday four more CAVE SWALLOWS were spotted from the old hawk watch site at Fort Tilden, and birders there early last Saturday were greeted by a calling small flock of RED CROSSBILLS moving by.

Another notable rarity appeared out in Montauk when a female-type BREWER'S BLACKBIRD was photographed Sunday afternoon at the Deep Hollow Ranch, the bird around the cattle pens on the south side of Route 27. The ranch is about a mile west of Montauk Point, but the blackbird has not been reported since. A CATTLE EGRET was also at the ranch on Sunday, and at the Roosevelt Third House County Park just west of Deep Hollow, a NORTHERN SHRIKE was also present Sunday.

Off Montauk Point Sunday among some 6000 LAUGHING GULLS were also two PARASITIC JAEGERS, nine COMMON TERNS, 66 BONAPARTE'S GULLS, and an immature LITTLE GULL. Land birds there featured BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER and VESPER SPARROW. Six more PARASITIC JAEGERS and 258 NORTHERN GANNETS were counted off Hither Hills State Park in Montauk Sunday morning.

A RED CROSSBILL and two HARLEQUIN DUCKS were spotted at Smith Point County Park in Shirley on Wednesday, and five CATTLE EGRETS were at Mecox on Monday.

Other sightings around the Captree area have featured an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at Gilgo Sunday; some continuing ROYAL TERNS, two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS sitting on the Point Lookout Town Park parking lot with lots of Black-bellied Plovers and Dunlins and two RED KNOTS last Saturday; a SHORT-EARED OWL at West End on Monday; VESPER SPARROW at Cedar Beach the same day; and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR also at Cedar Beach last Sunday.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was near the boathouse in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, last Saturday and Sunday. Other Prospect highlights lately have included EASTERN BLUEBIRD, FOX SPARROW, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.

Recent COMMON RAVENS on Long Island have featured one Saturday over Yaphank and two Monday at Rocky Point.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483. This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday's Foto

Breeding across the top of North American and Eurasia, the Dunlin is a common, gregarious shorebird whose distribution is worldwide. This individual was part of a small flock at Floyd Bennett Field. The bird has mostly transitioned to basic plumage, but some breeding feathers can still be seen. While watching the flock I was surprised to observe some birds actually swimming in shallow water and looking a bit like a phalarope. I was under the impression that shorebirds can't swim.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

October Birds

October turned out to be a good month for adding new species to my year list. By October 24th I had added 7 species for New York State, bringing my year total to 257. All were observed within Brooklyn, so my borough total is now 232.

When Heydi called me about the Cattle Egret at Floyd Bennett Field early in the month, I practically dropped everything and rushed out there. Ironically, not only has the bird remained for nearly a month, two more have joined him.

Floyd Bennett Field was very productive over October as I found three good birds there. In addition to the Cattle Egret were American Golden-Plover and Blue Grosbeak. Another unexpected find was of a pair of Royal Terns just across Flatbush Avenue along the shore of Dead Horse Bay.

I did fairly well with respect to migrating sparrows and was able to add Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow (both in Prospect Park) and Nelson's Sparrow (Plum Beach). One sparrow that I missed this year and am unlikely to see given the late date is Lark Sparrow. A few were observed early in the migration around the city and on Long Island. My last species of the month was found at Green-Wood Cemetery. While trudging up the hillside towards Battle Hill, I heard a familiar, sweet song, searched the trees for the source, then spotted a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. A beautiful bird to end the month with.

During November the migration finally starts to peter out. It can also be a month for unusual finds as western vagrants sometimes show up around the city and Long Island. I don't expect to add many more birds during the last two months of the year, but you never know.

250) Cattle Egret (Floyd Bennett Field, 10/10/10)
251) American Golden-Plover (Floyd Bennett Field, 10/12/10)
252) Royal Tern (Dead Horse Bay, 10/06/10)
253) Eastern Bluebird (Greenwood Cemetery, 10/24/10)
254) Clay-colored Sparrow (Prospect Park, 10/05/10)
255) Vesper Sparrow (Prospect Park, 10/19/10)
256) Nelson's Sparrow (Plum Beach, 10/12/10)
257) Blue Grosbeak (Floyd Bennett Field, 10/06/10)
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, nature trips within New York City's 5 boroughs for the weekend of November 6th - 7th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 10 a.m.
Morning Bird Walk: Feathered Friends
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Pearl Broder
Registration opens Monday 10/25
Ride: $15.


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November 6, 2010, 8am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortland Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary. No limit.
Free.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, November 7, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Bucks Hollow in the Greenbelt
Walk the Greenbelt with Howie Fischer as he works to identify the birds of the area. Trails may be wet or muddy, so wear appropriate shoes. Persimmons may be ripe in the Buttonbush wetland. We will search for late fall migrants, woodpeckers and some of the other resident bird species. Please bring a pair of binoculars and walking shoes. Meet on Meisner Avenue near the intersection of Rockland Avenue. Park on the hill leading to Eger Nursing Home.
For more information call Howie Fischer at 718-981-4002.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: The Woodpeckers
8:00 a.m.
Try to find all three kinds in park -- downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers. If you...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Early Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Fall Migration
11:00 a.m.
It’s that time of year again—many birds are heading south in preparation for...
Location: 223rd Street & 148th Avenue (in Idlewild Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Fall Foliage at Crocheron Park
11:00 a.m.
Visit Crocheron Park in search of colorful remainders from fall foliage season. A mix of...
Location: Parking Lot, intersection of 33rd Avenue and 214th Place (in Crocheron Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Hike the Midwood
1:00 p.m.
Discover the beauty of the Midwood section of Prospect Park and learn about its wildlife as...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Fairy House Walk
1:00 p.m.
Take a magical walk through the Central Park Ramble woods and explore some of the smaller...
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lenape Lives Along the Creek
1:00 p.m.
Explore the world of the Lenape people who first called the area of Marine Park home....
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free
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